FREE RADICALS & OXIDATIVE STRESS

Free radicals have received a lot of publicity in recent years, because modern medical research has identified free radical damage as an underlying cause of premature aging and many chronic and degenerative diseases. Overall, free radicals have been implicated in the pathogenesis of many diseases such as asthma, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, parkinson's and Alzheimer’s disease.

What is "Oxidative Stress"?

Maybe we should call this "oxidation" and compare its action to that of an apple you cut in half. What do you notice? It turns brown.That is oxidation at work. Free radical damage causes the apple to start to decay. Inside the body, oxidative stress means that cell membranes get damaged and rusty, while internal cellular pieces like damaged DNA and other debris accumulate, affecting nearby cells. It’s like garbage that’s not taken away, so it builds up, leading to inflammation.

What causes "oxidative Stress"?
•    Smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking prescription drugs.
•    Eating, particularly animal-derived protein and fat, and non-plant based carbs.
•    Ingesting pesticides from produce, or antibiotics and hormones in animal products.
•    Eating processed foods with artificial flavorings and dyes.
•    Exposure to pollution and toxins in water, air, or in personal care products.
•    Trauma or injury to muscle, bone, skin, and connective tissue.
•    Muscle-damaging anaerobic training.
•    Endurance exercise.
Explaining "Free Radicals"
Free radicals are molecules that are missing electrons. Since these compounds are “hungry” for electrons they “steal” them from other compounds, such as cell membranes, DNA or other cellular components. This destabilizes the tissues that have been robbed of electrons, causing them to also steal electrons perpetuating the damage. This process is also known as oxidation.

According to Steven Horne: The body uses controlled oxidation to burn carbohydrates, fats and proteins, releasing the energy stored in them for cellular functions. The body also uses oxidation to destroy invading microbes as part of the immune response. So, as long as oxidation is controlled, it is a useful part of the process of life. Free radicals, however, cause oxidation to spin out of control, thus damaging life.

Oxidative Stress = Accelerated Aging or Decline
Knowing this, it makes common sense, don't you think, to provide the body with key nutrients at the right times to fight oxidative stress and help the cells regenerate. Our modern day lifestyle conditions is an open door to oxidative stress and as a consequence to a decline in our optimum body functions.


Neutralizing Free Radicals with Antioxidants

Antioxidants are compounds that prevent oxidation from causing healthy tissues to decay. An antioxidant is a-substance that can donate an electron without becoming immediately unstable. The antioxidant donates an electron to the free radical, making it stable. This is why putting slices of apple into some water containing vitamin C, an antioxidant, will keep them from turning brown as quickly.

Without the aid of antioxidants, oxidation can damage DNA, causing cells to mutate and become cancerous. Oxidative damage will also give rise to arterial plaque, causing heart disease and increasing the risk of strokes. Without antioxidants, free radicals can damage brain tissue, leading to Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or senility. In short, antioxidants are Nature's anti-aging compounds, protecting us from diseases associated with aging.

Alpha Lipoic Acid Can Save You!
We recommend taking this glutathione-boosting supplement called "Alpha Lipoic acid". This is a close second to glutathione in importance in our cells and is involved in energy production, blood sugar control, brain health and detoxification. The body usually makes it, but given all the stresses we are under, we often become depleted.

Alpha Lipoic Acid is often called the universal antioxidant.  It is both fat and water-soluble and can cross any membrane in the body. Consequently, Alpha Lipoic Acid can protect the integrity of the cell membrane as well as offset cell stress.  Alpha Lipoic Acid also promotes mitochondrial activity to help keep your body and its tissues young.  It also enhances the efforts of other antioxidants, helps support the body's natural removal of toxins, and offsets oxidative stress.  In addition to its antioxidant properties, Alpha Lipoic Acid directs calories away from fat production and toward energy production, supports blood sugar levels and enhances the nervous and cardiovascular systems.


What are the effects of free radical damage?
"In treating chronically ill patients with Functional Medicine for more than 10 years, I have discovered that glutathione deficiency is found in nearly all very ill patients. These include people with chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, cancer, chronic infections, autoimmune disease, diabetes, autism, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, arthritis, asthma, kidney problems, liver disease and more. In fact, the top British medical journal, the Lancet, found the highest glutathione levels in healthy young people, lower levels in healthy elderly, lower still in sick elderly and the lowest of all in the hospitalized elderly."
Mark Hayman, M.D.

Wrinkled skin, stiff joints and hardening of the arteries are general examples of what free radicals will do to us. 
The damage caused by free radicals accelerates the aging process. 
Other conditions that are closely linked to free radical activity include Crohn’s disease, Gallstones, Pancreatitis, Ulcerative colitis, Cataracts, Cancer, Cardiovascular disease, Chronic fatigue syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, Learning difficulties, Memory problems, Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Emphysema, Male infertility, Hair loss, Skin problems, and possibly many other conditions.
St. George Naturopathic Clinic

See a list and details about antioxidants on this site

Do you need antioxidants?
(short test here)

Our suggestion:

If you are eating plenty of organic vegetables AND fruits you probably do not need any antioxidants.
If you are overweight: Curcumin BP and Alpha Lipoic Acid would be our best choice.
Curcumin BP, Alpha Lipoic Acid AND L-Carnitine (for fatty liver).